Italian cuisine is a perennial favorite both in the U.S. and abroad.
So it’s not surprising that three Italian cities—Rome, Florence, and Naples—were ranked among the top 10 best food destinations around the world.
These destinations were selected as part of Tripadvisor’s “Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards.” The list highlights hotels, restaurants, and activities that receive a high volume of “above-and-beyond” reviews from travelers.
Fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor’s 8 million listings are awarded this recognition.
The growing appeal of food tourism
The global culinary tourism market was estimated at $805.9 billion in 2022, according to data from Research and Markets.
Increasingly, travelers are seeking out opportunities to learn about the history and culture of destinations through their foods.
Both independently and as part of organized tours, travelers are following food and wine trails, enrolling in cooking classes, attending food festivals, visiting producers and markets, and booking stays at working farms.
Italy is especially “ripe” for exploration because so many “Italian” ingredients, recipes, and preparations vary from region to region, and even from town to town.
Tripadvisor’s Best Food Destinations in Italy
Here is a sampling of food experiences not to be missed in each of these three Tripadvisor food destinations in Italy:
Devour Tours offers a variety of food tours and cooking classes in Rome, including a tasting tour that begins in the ancient Jewish quarter with a tasting of crispy fried artichokes and a visit to a family-run bakery.
Moving on to the city’s historic center (Centro Historico), food lovers get to taste fried codfish, Roman pizza, and street foods like porchetta. and even learn how to identify an authentic gelateria.
Some not-to-be-missed pasta dishes in Rome include Pasta alla Carbonara, Cacio E Pepe, and zesty Pasta All’Amatriciana.
Curious Appetite offers private and small-group culinary walking tours of Florence, including a cultural food tour of the city’s markets.
Led by local food writers, sommeliers, and food historians, participants visit various market stalls and learn how to navigate open-air markets.
In addition, they get to taste Florentine food specialties (including flatbreads (schiacciata), cured meats and artisanal cheeses, tomato soup (pappa al pomodoro), and more as they get to meet vendors with other food lovers.
Some not-to-be-missed food dishes in Florence include Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo, and Pappardelle al Cinghiale.
Naples is the birthplace of pizza and Context Travel offers a bespoke food tour coupled with a pizza-making workshop that views Neapolitan culture through a culinary lens.
During a walking tour through the historical center of Naples, participants are introduced to the city’s street food and specialty food shops to learn about the evolution of culinary traditions through the ages.
And during a hands-on pizza-making lesson, a trained pizzaiolo (pizza maker) teaches participants the art of making a pizza Napoletana.
Some not-to-be-missed dishes in Naples include Ragu Napoletano, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, and Pizza Margherita, of course.
To view the full list of 2023 Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best Awards, visit the Tripadvisor website.
Read more: Best Food Cities in Italy: What To Eat Where